When politicians rush to claim that something is 'non-political' (as has been happening around Remembrance Day over the past week or so), you know that some healthy suspicion and careful examination is due.
As we approach Remembrance Sunday, many people may feel quite ambivalent about the increasingly numerous and elaborate ceremonies and media coverage, but be very uncomfortable about voicing their doubts.
It is grimly ironic, says Savi Hensman, that on Armistice Day UK news headlines included the announcement of a new benefits system which punishes the ‘workshy’ and a report showing inadequate care for many elderly NHS patients undergoing surgery.
What must we do to understand the meaning of remembrance, to remember human suffering, and to grasp the human dignity lying so far beyond the ritual words at this time of year?, asks Jill Segger. Only painful truth-telling is adequate to the task, she says.
It was with a rather heavy heart that I got my first media call today about the annual "red poppy" dust-up - which usually revolves around attacks from the Daily Mail and its kindred spirits on broadcasters, public figures and politicians who don't wear the British Legion Appeal symbol or who raise questions about what the practice means.